I can’t cook. If I tried, I could probably burn water, the way I burnt my instant noodles (yes, you heard me). I’m not starving though, what with Singapore’s great food culture and tons of food choices all throughout my neighbourhood. In Singapore, it’s possible to get by without possessing any culinary skill whatsoever.
However, a slew of startups right here in Singapore are trying to revive the art of cooking — by delivering food and recipes right to your doorstep. And that makes me nervous.
The newest startup to join the collection of “cook-it-yourself” box deliveries is You Cook It, a home delivery service that sends you gourmet baskets with pre-measured ingredients and detailed step-by-step illustrated recipes. They’re created by Aurélia Wielemans, a 35-year-old mother who arrived in Singapore in 2012, and conceived this idea through an Alain Ducasse cookbook. Gourmet food can be easy to make, and everyone deserves to try it out.
The process is simple: go to the website, pick a recipe, specify the number of people you’re cooking for, and buy yourself a meal that you can easily cook all by yourself. All the stress and hassle of preparing an actual meal, for cooking n00bs like me, should disappear.
So I gave it a shot.
Giving A Bad Cook A Recipe…
I went to the website and ordered a Salmon and Vegetables “En Papillote” with Mango & Ginger Chutney. My uncivilised self had no idea what this was, but the picture itself looked pretty good, and the ingredients looked pretty simple to prep.
Following the instructions on the website, I placed my order before 5pm, and it arrived early the next morning.
Adorably, it arrived with a little Easter treat — a bag of candy eggs as dessert.
It also had a laminated recipe card, as well as a full box of fresh ingredients. The salmon was set aside separately, since it had been freshly defrosted for cooking.
But though the recipe card was clear and straightforward, I ran into some hiccups. Another result of my uncivilised self was that I didn’t have a working oven, which meant that I had to run to ask my neighbours to borrow theirs. I also discovered that I needed 45 minutes to cook my chutney, though I didn’t have time to be impatient as I had burnt it within 5.
While it was a serving for two, it was also not filling enough for me and a friend, though the freshness of the ingredients did make up for all my cooking boo-boos. The result was a healthy and delicious meal, albeit unsatisfying.
The lesson of the day? No matter how easy the dish, a bad cook is a bad cook.
While I started off trying to see if cooking startups are really foolproof, I think I underestimated the ‘fool’ in me, to which I owe my readers a great apology. Nonetheless, I would recommend it to decent cooks with a pechant for great Parisian cuisine, or anyone looking to challenge their cooking skills outside of the usual stirfry that many existing Singapore-based cooking startups are offering.
With dishes like ‘Gazpacho Watermelon Tomato Feta Crumble’, ‘Mille Feuille Avocado Scallop Chorizo and Mango’, and ‘Australian Rib Eye Steak in a Parmesan Sauce served with Spicy Eggplant’, your menus will definitely impress for any romantic meal or dinner party. It’s also probably best to get the whole 3-course meal (appetiser, main, and dessert) to get the full experience.
It’s an interesting deviation from what we’re used to, and it may make a fancy chef out of you yet. Me? Not so much.